Brooklyn Welding with the turkey she harvested on the last day of the 2016 youth turkey hunt.
Here we are on the cusp of another spring turkey season in Indiana. Since the close of goose season, in February, I've been longing for a reason to get back outdoors. Ice fishing was nice, but short-lived. Mushrooms are delicious but I never seem to find many.
Turkey hunting, however, I can get into. Much like spring itself, turkey hunting is a beginning of new things. A rebirth of outdoor activities, much like the Phoenix rising from the ashes.
Last year I hunted every chance I could, and even with that it took me until the next to last day of season to tag out. There were plenty of close calls and blown opportunities, both for me and those I hunt with. Inevitably the birds always seemed to be just a tad too far away.
This year will be different! New decoys, guns, camo and calls. If that's not enough we have scouted our spots and have patterned the birds' behavior. Recipe for success, right? If only success were so easy to come by. As the old saying goes "It's better to be lucky than good."
As happens every year, youth turkey season is the weekend preceding the regular turkey season. And as we have done for the past six years my father-in-law and I have rounded up my kids put them in a blind for the youth hunt. This year we were joined on Saturday by my youngest son Ayrton and my nephew Jake.
Set up on opposite ends of the same field, me with Ayrton and my father-in-law with Jake and his dad, we waited for daylight with high expectations. As the sun crept over the eastern horizon turkeys began gobbling in multiple locations. None were close to us, but if history at our current location was any indication, all we needed to do was be patient and the turkeys would appear.
This day was not to be. After sitting in the blinds until 11 a.m. without action, we decided to call it a day and regroup in the morning.
Sunday came and our hunting party for the day would consist of Ayrton and I at one property, and Richard (my father-in-law) with Brooklyn at the original field from Saturday. Brooklyn is my oldest child and this would be the last year for her to participate in the youth hunt. As Ayrton and I slipped into our blind a turkey made a raucous departure from the tree directly above us. Not the way you want to start a turkey hunt.
Once again there were no vocal birds in our immediate area. Then around nine a.m. my phone lit up with a text from Brooklyn with the simple statement "Got one." My response was an excited "What!?!"
She said that a group of three birds had slowly worked their way down to the decoys. The birds would pop in and out of sight behind trees and hills. At times they would appear to be leaving and Richard would gently coax them back in line with his slate call. Finally, two of the birds came into the decoys and made a display of their plumage, dancing around the impostor hen that was the decoy. When she finally got the chance and had a clear shot at the biggest one she pulled the trigger and ended the hunt.
After what seemed like an hour a picture came through from Richard with Brooklyn proudly displaying her prize. On the last hunt for her to participate in as a youth she was able to fill her tag and go home with a smile.
That leaves me with Ayrton and myself to get turkeys. Hopefully the birds will cooperate and I will get mine on opening day so I can refocus on putting him on a turkey. Good luck to all turkey hunters out there. Be safe out there and remember to always make sure of your target before pulling the trigger.
Jon is a staff writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487, ext. 21. He can also be reached via email at email@example.com.